Are you still reeling over your semi-cancelled summer? Or are you failing at hiding your frustration over your daughter’s cancelled graduation? Or perhaps you’re still struggling to lose those pesky kilos you helplessly gained during quarantine? Despite the presumed return to semi-normalcy in our lives, there is no doubt that we’re all struggling to remain positive, productive and motivated! So what’s the deal here? How do we push ourselves out of our ruts and gain back the positivity we fought so hard for? My answer for you is that WE DON’T! It’s okay to not fight ourselves to stay positive for once…it’s okay to not be so productive…. it’s OK to lower our expectations just for now!
My spiritual self has been searching for answers and trying her hardest to stay productive during the quarantine and after. I admit I was on an information high since March, claiming that I’ve finally found enough time… albeit enforced on me…. to catch up on my readings, to learn new skills, and to enrol in countless online courses and exercises. Although that strategy worked very well for me during that time but I have to admit that come July I am more frustrated than ever. Same as many of you I presume. Until I came upon this article that gave me the best piece of advice in a long while …. it simply said …
It’s okay to lower your expectations!
While this may not exactly be what you expected me to say but this is exactly what we all need to hear… and do! We’re all going through some major physical and emotional upheavals, one day we’d feel like conquering the world, while on other days you can barely make it to your living room couch. And that’s very okay. I always say that I should listen to my body and follow my intuition yet here I am with a heart monitor device strapped to my body for the coming 48 hours just so it can figure out the reasons behind my irregular heartbeats. But I think I have the reasons figured out!
While we all want to make the best and the most of our lives, we want to experience everything, waste nothing and savour every flavour, yet despite everything we want sometimes plans just don’t work out. We may not have lived to see a global pandemic on the scale of this one before, and we may not have handled things expertly and with grace…and why should we really.. we do not come with a set of pre-programmed responses. But that’s all okay! The only response we will need during these times is that of acceptance. Accept that life has still not returned to normal. Accept that your socialising is different, your job or working conditions may have changed, your finances may have been affected, your body is probably different, your favourite salon, restaurant, or boutique may have closed down, your kids may not be going back to school or university or whatnot. Things are simply not under our control and we have to practice emotional acceptance. The is the single most important skill to develop right now hands down.
This is why lowering our expectations and practicing emotional acceptance is what we will need to pull us through these uncertain and difficult times. Stop striving to be your most productive self when all you want to do is to slip back under your covers for a couple of hours more. Just don’t stay there! Now that it’s becoming easier to connect with family and friends make use of that and don’t take it for granted ever again. Try writing about your feelings, talking them out if you have to or simply walking them out, just don’t bottle them up. Give validity to these emotions and give yourself a break you’ve been through a lot. Stop pressuring yourself to use your time wisely, give yourself space to heal, recover and to just be. Just lower your expectations and give acceptance to all the emotions that rise up now and then.